by R.T. Fitch
It seems that each and every year the few good guys and gals in Washington introduce bills to save our wild mustangs, stop slaughter and ban the transport of our equine, American heritage to kill pens across the border. And every year the bulk of them make it through our humane and animal friendly Congress only to become stuck in committee due to pressure from a special interest group or a politician who’s intentions are less than honorable. It’s like the movie “Groundhog’s Day”, we are stuck in a cycle of always doing what we did and continually getting what we always got. What the heck?
So we advocates have beseeched the American people to make a stand, contact your elected officials and tell them that you want to be heard, your opinion matters and that you will hold them accountable for not only their actions but for their inaction. And so many of you did; some with moderately positive results and others with abysmal reactions.
That’s our topic today, just what does said elected official pay attention to, if anything, and how do they respond to a painstaking effort to prepare a well written letter of protest?
Below is just one example of many that we have received, here, at Force of the Horse©. It’s really rather heartbreaking but the reply to the reply is even better. It moved us so much that we thought we would share it with you, complete with the authorization of the original letter’s author. Her name has been deleted to protect the innocent but the letter rings true, loud and clear.
First the official reply to her letter asking for intervention to halt the unlawful and uncalled for round-up of the Pryor Mountain Wild Mustangs of last September. Her request came well in advance of the Sept. 4th assault and was sent with hope for assistance. Please read on:
September 23, 2009
Ms. Goodie Tooshoes
010 Rainbow Rd
Oz, Montana 59999
Thank you for contacting me with your concerns about the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range 2009 Gather. Ensuring that Montana’s natural resources are appropriately managed is one of my top concerns, and I appreciate hearing your thoughts on this important issue.
As you know, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) recently completed its gather of horses on the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range. Under the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, the BLM and Forest Service are responsible for managing wild horses on the Pryor Range, as well as for maintaining the ecological health of the Range itself. The Gather is one tool the BLM uses to accomplish these goals.
Again, I appreciate your thoughts about management of the Pryor Horse Range. Please feel free to contact me in the future with any additional questions or concerns you may have.
United States Senator
Now it’s Ms. Tooshoes turn to reply:
Dear Mr. Baucus:
You insult my intelligence. My letter I faxed to your office dated August 25th was imploring you to stop the Pryor Mountain Horse gather because there were some flagrant discrepancies in how the BLM was handling this issue and also non-compliance with many NEPA regulations. I spent hours composing my letter, doing exorbitant amounts of research . . . working diligently in pointing out the various issues of concern which should have been of YOUR concern as well. In return I get a “canned” letter telling me what I already know . . . . the gather is over and the BLM is in charge of our public lands. REALLY? Had you truly read my letter, which I am now convinced you did not, I think you would have been very much aware of the fact that I pretty much had all of that figured out . . . . and then some.
The fact that I heard nothing until one month later from my congressional leaders and NOTHING from the Department of Interior or BLM actually makes me physically ill. Need I remind you that not only are you an elected official who works for the public but the BLM is entrusted with “our” public lands and the wild animals that live there. No one listened to the cries of an outraged public when this gather was proposed . . . the BLM is a rogue organization who is basically rounding up our wonderful American icons (the mustang) and managing them to extinction. But hey, let’s be fair, grazing rights and mineral rights are so much more important aren’t they? Uranium mining is at the top of the list so let’s get those pesky horses off the land even though they have lived there for over 200 years. Oh, and Mr. Rancher, well sure you can run your 1,000 head of cattle on the BLM public lands even though we were told that this land would not and could not support 190 horses. (Did you know that Jim Sparks, the Billings BLM Field Office Manager actually said the reason they were removing these horses was because they were starving? Did you know that I had been up to visit the horses a month prior to the gather and the grass was lush and the horses were fatter than my very own personal horses?) Lies, lies and more lies.
I was not asking for you to agree with my position but I naively assumed that those in government, who are working for the public, would take some time to actually investigate and question a government agency gone wrong. Silly me! As I counted every horse that ran into the chute and lost their freedom forever, that will be the number of nails in the coffin of my current elected official’s political careers. It is my solemn promise that as bereft as our western wilderness now is of our wild mustangs, so too will be my “X” next to your name on my election ballot.
Hats off to Ms. “T” and all of you who fight the good fight. Keep those faxs and letters coming and don’t forget to send an email, too .
May the Force of the Horse© be with you!